After more than two years of dating, Chuang Chen knew Jiao Li deserved a fairytale proposal. “We were in a hotel room watching Frozen, and Chuang started telling me a story about a boy and a girl," Jiao remembers. After a few minutes, she realized the story was about their own relationship. “At the end, he said that the boy had decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with the girl, and he got down on one knee!”
The couple decided to take their time planning and set a date for two years later, on May 28, 2016. After looking at venues in the redwood forests of California, where they were living at the time, Chuang and Jiao decided to switch coasts! “We were moving to New York after our wedding, and decided to start our marriage there, too,” she says. Once in the Big Apple, they quickly fell in love with the Hudson Hotel, embracing its convenient location, rooftop wedding space, and intimate setting—perfect for their group of 50 guests. With help from Chancey Charm and photographer Jac + Thom, the new-New Yorkers said "I do" in a flower-filled, rooftop wedding on the most perfect day in May.
Chuang and Jiao set the tone for their big day with pink-and-green floral invitations. They carried this color palette through their ceremony flowers, table settings, and attire!
“I fell in love with my lace Vera Wang ball gown as soon as I tried it on, but decided to go to a few other stores just in case,” says Jiao. “I couldn’t let it go, so I went back to get it as soon as possible!” She recommends brides try as many styles as possible, just to be sure—and then make the purchase when they find a dress they don’t want to take off!
“Chuang bought me pink and gold Christian Louboutin pumps right after we got engaged, and they were just the thing to wear with my wedding gown,” says the bride. She paired her pretty pink shoes with a bouquet of peonies since the wedding date was in the middle of peony season.
The couple had two ceremonies, starting with a traditional tea ceremony for both of their parents, who traveled from China for the big event.
Next came the Western wedding ceremony, which took place on the hotel's rooftop, beneath a ceiling covered in blush pink carnations. Here, Chuang and Jiao exchanged vows in front of a gorgeous arch of white roses. “We wrote our own vows, but instead of reciting them in front of our guests, we read them to one another before the ceremony,” Jiao remembers.
The reception also took place in a covered space on the rooftop, where tables were set in a U-shaped formation around the dance floor. Tabletops were decorated simply, with a garland of greenery accented with roses and peonies. As a special touch, the bride and groom surprised guests with a box of Papabubble candy at each seat.
After dinner, Jiao changed into a gorgeous lace dress embroidered with pink roses that perfectly matched the wedding cake. "Lauren at the White Cake took aspects from the invitation and floral design to make a beautiful cake that was covered in sugar peonies, roses, and hydrangeas," she says.
As for the hardest part of planning, Jiao admits that it was all the decision-making. "We found a lot of beautiful choices for everything and it was too hard to decide which one I wanted to use," she says. Luckily, her wedding planner helped nail all of the important details. Says the bride, "She helped with everything!"
Venue & Catering: Hudson Hotel
Bride's Dress: Vera Wang
Bride and Groom's Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Hair & Makeup: VickyC5
Floral Design: Bride and Blossom
Wedding Planner: Chancey Charm NYC
Ceremony Music: Highline String Quartet
Paper Goods: Yao Cheng Design
Cake: A White Cake
Rentals: Broadway Party Rentals
Photography: Jac + Thom